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Skipton Town Hall redevelopment plans are supported by councillors

Craven District Council's Policy Committee has agreed to support redevelopment plans for Skipton Town Hall.

The council is due to submit a Stage 2 Heritage Lottery funding application for the redevelopment by September 15.

Councillors at the Policy Committee on Monday September 11 agreed to approve an additional £136,000 towards the project, using the New Homes Bonus, and to underwrite the project with £1.6 million in case external funding applications are unsuccessful.

The council was successful in a Stage 1 Heritage Lottery funding application last year and £1.5million was set aside subject to a successful Stage 2 application.

Since then a full assessment and mapping of the museum's collections has been undertaken, of around 60,000 objects. Consultation has taken place and plans have been drawn up for an extension to the rear of Skipton Town Hall, including a new kitchen, community space/education room, and toilets.

The council has also signed a lease with Wildwood restaurant to occupy part of the building, and has launched an exciting programme of performances and events for autumn/winter 2017/18.

David Smurthwaite, strategic manager for Craven District Council, said: "We have a vision for a modern museum, gallery and hall that will provide high quality performances, events and services.

"The Heritage Lottery Fund has requested that Craven DC underwrite the outstanding budget for the entire project as it is clear to them that for the HLF project to be successful, the extension and ancillary facilities such as the kitchen and the dedicated toilets for the education space are required.

"We currently have a number of external funding bids awaiting decisions and other sources we are considering. However if these are not successful the council will underwrite the shortfall."

The total cost of the redevelopment of Skipton Town Hall comes to £4,577,620. If successful in the Stage 2 Heritage Lottery Fund bid, the HLF will contribute £1,501,500 to the project. Craven District Council will provide £807,800 plus capital funds of £532,390. This leaves a gap of £1,735,930.

The council currently has a number of other funding bids awaiting results, and others in the pipeline, but the council will underwrite the shortfall if these are unsuccessful; this would be funded either by borrowing or by the sale of assets.

A planning application for the extension at the rear of Skipton Town Hall has now been submitted, with a decision due later this year. If successful with the Stage 2 HLF application the council would expect to receive permission to start the project in April 2018.

For more information about events taking place at Skipton Town Hall or to join the Town Hall mailing list, go to http://www.cravendc.gov.uk/skiptontownhall